Engaging hearts, minds and screens
This year has provided little alternative but to step up our virtual game. Whether we are facilitators by trade or someone just trying to wrangle a screen full of faces, our ability to engage hearts and minds from afar has never been so important.
After sharing some virtual facilitation tips way back in April, the Werkling community recently came together (virtually obvs) to reflect on how they best foster an environment of inclusivity, trust and engagement via a screen.
These practical tips were just too good not to share....
Spark conversation and connection very early on to set the expectation that there's going to be a high degree of participation and that it's not a webinar.
Open with something a bit outside the norm. This will hook them in and let everyone know that it's not going to be 'just another' virtual workshop or meeting.
Encourage participants to use the chat function as some people are less likely to participate virtually
Find a light, authentic and friendly way to encourage ‘videos on’ :) but understand that it might not work for everyone
Utilise breakout groups (early and often) to encourage connection, brainstorming, discussion and participation. These small intimate groups help to build rapport and connection with each other.
With bigger groups, organise a co-facilitator who can moderate the chat and pop into breakout rooms so you can concentrate on facilitating or presenting.
Have regular breaks during the session for some screen relief and movement, and if the mood gets low (or Zoom fatigue sets in!) get people up for a 30 second guided stretch or low intensity physical activity.
Use digital tools to gather and share information - virtual sticky notes, whiteboards, surveys, polling etc.
Use channels like Slack to keep the conversation going after the session
Use music, videos and games (i.e. Quinks) to encourage engagement and participation
Break full day programs down to a maximum of three hours sessions across a few days to limit screen fatigue
Provide log-on instructions and system requirements well in advance of the session and make sure you are super familiar with the platform
Use digital pulse checks at the start and end of the session. For example, three quick questions ensures that everyone provides feedback
Morning can be a winner if you can nab an early time slot!
Check if there are any requirements or preferences for the assigning of breakout group ahead of time.
Provide downloaded workbooks that participants can type into and save.
Thanks to Jeremy, Wendy, Claire, Louise, Sigrid, Viren, Jenny and Erin! Not only do these tips from our lively Slack discussion reflect the depth of your hands on experience, but how we come together as a Werkling community to connect, reflect and share. Tick. Tick.